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Plumber fined £3000 for blast that destroyed couple’s home

Craig Hall, 34, failed to install a boiler properly at an elderly couple's property.

Destroyed: The Cunninhgams' house was demolished. SWNS

A plumber has been fined £3000 after causing a gas explosion that destroyed a couple’s home and buried them beneath rubble.

Craig Hall, 34, failed to properly install a boiler at Robin and Marion Cunningham’s house in Callander, Perthshire.

The boiler’s supply pipe separated from the inlet pipe to which it should have been joined, allowing gas to escape.

Eight months after Hall carried out the work, the property was completely destroyed in a massive blast.

At 5.45 am on August 2, 2013 the escaped gas ignited, resulting in an explosion that ripped through the property.

The couple were both trapped and had to be freed by firefighters.

Mr Cunningham, then 77, was taken by air ambulance to the Southern General Hospital in Glasgow where he was treated for a back injury and burns.

His wife, then 74, was taken to Glasgow Royal Infirmary with less serious injuries.

Nine nearby houses were evacuated and Stirling Council set up a rest centre in Callander as emergency services moved in to make the area safe.

Mr and Mrs Cunningham’s home was almost completely demolished in the explosion and diggers were called in to clear the site.

Hall, of Tullibody, Clackmannanshire, was told to pay the £3000 fine at a rate of £150 per month at Stirling Sheriff Court on Wednesday.

He had denied causing the blast by carrying out the installation of the boiler dangerously, but he was found guilty by Sheriff William Gilchrist.

Passing sentence, he said he was satisfied Hall hadn’t meant to cause the explosion but found that he had failed to take reasonable care.

The court was told Hall remains employed but has had to undergo further training.

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